Kovacic signing could prove beneficial to Kante’s role at Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic signed a permanent deal with Chelsea on Monday despite the Blues currently serving a transfer ban.

What’s the deal, then?

The deal to bring the 25-year-old to the club was allowed because he had been registered by the Europa League winners while on-loan, and another registration was not required to complete the move.

The punishment was dished out by FIFA because of evidence brought forward following an investigation into the signing of foreign under-18 players.

Despite the ban being subject to an appeal from Chelsea, those at Stamford Bridge decided not to have it lifted while the Court of Arbitration for Sport give their verdict.

And regardless of the restriction being in place it could not stop them from purchasing the midfielder who spent all of last season there, making 51 appearances, failing to score, and assisting twice.

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Keeping Kovacic could mean Kante returns to screening the defence

A hallmark of Maurizio Sarri’s time at Chelsea was the repetition of his substitutions, none more so than Kovacic replacing Ross Barkley, or vice-versa.

That particular change was made 22 times throughout the season in all competitions, and was something Blues supporters did not take too kindly to.

Part of the reason Sarri could not co-ordinate both of them into the team was because he remained stubborn to the idea that Jorginho had to be at the base of the three in midfield – playing that role in all 54 of his games for the club.

Now that the Italian coach has left for Juventus, and with Frank Lampard set to take over, he could choose not to apply exactly the same formula that he inherited.

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This could pave the way for N’Golo Kante to return to the defensive midfield role which he has occupied during Leicester’s 2016 league win and some of Chelsea’s 2017 triumph.

If Lampard comes in and does decide to go with three in the midfield then one of Kovacic, Barkley, Kante or Jorginho will have to miss out.

And given the latter was brought in for the specific purpose of facilitating Sarri-ball, with him gone it could mean a return to the role of play-breaker for the little Frenchman.

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